The World Meteorological Organization, which is in charge of assigning names to hurricanes and tropical storms, has six lists that they cycle through. (In other words, they are currently using non-retired names that were also used in both 2012 and 2006.) They've been using this system since 1953.
The World Meteorological Organization has officially retired the names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate, and they will never be used again.
The WMO looks for short, distinctive names when choosing new ones for their lists. A new one must be chosen if a name is "retired" -- that is, if a storm is so destructive or deadly that it would be insensitive to continue to use the name. Four 2017 storms -- Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate -- caused their names to be retired. Their replacements were added to the 2023 season list.There are more rules in the name choosing process. For example, only 21 letters of the English alphabet are in use, so none of the names start with less common letters like Q.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has released the names for this year's hurricane season. They are: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William.